Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back again

Although I haven't posted any notes on this blog for a while I have still been training hard. Most of my training notes I have been recording in traditional 'hard copy'. I had been contemplating exactly how I want to handle my training notes. I think it is really just going to come down to a mix of paper and online posts.

Since my last posts the developments in my training have been:
  • I have been accepted as a murid (student) in Pentjak Silat Serak under Maha Guru Victor 'Pak Vic' De Thouars in the VDT Academy instructor training program.
  • I attended the first day of Guro Dan Inosanto's seminar held at the Trident Academy in Woodbridge, VA. The training was strongly focused on Silat.
  • Have been training with Gary and Thad outside of class focused mostly on Silat Serak (Gary is also in the VDT instructor training program).
  • Moved to Gaithersburg and I am working on making the large finished basement room of my house into a training area. I am thinking of starting an small intimate/informal training group (JKD & Kali Silat).
  • MAK training has focused on stick and dagger, contra sombradas etc.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sayoc Kali: Projectiles & Free Flow

Sunday 05/21/2006

Guro Bob held a special event for us at his home that included some projectiles and free flow. Besides Guro Bob, in attendence were Warren, Aaron, Adam, Miguel, Franky and myself. Projectiling was fun we used Guro Bob's cheap small Hibben throwers throwing into some life vests that Guro hung up and covered with some old jackets. Later we also tried throwing the SKS bayonets that Guro Miguel brought.

Free flow was interesting, we reviewed the corkskrew tapping for Aaron who is new to Sayoc Kali, though has studied other arts, and then we switched around free flowing so that we got to practice with everyone. The intensity varied, but I had a lot of fun going medium intensity with both Guro Bob and Guro Miguel. Guro Bob clipped me around the ear a good few times to remind me not to fixate on the blade hand and forget the other hand. He also added in some kicking to liven it up and so we returned some like for like. It was a lot of fun, even though I did come away with a few bruises on my arm and my glasses got knocked off my face a couple of times.

It's great to break out of set drills and make the training a little more alive. Trying some of the techniques in free flow is not as easy as in the drills and it is easy to lose structure. Also, in free flow you find that finding a lethal entry is not as easy as you would think, even with someone who has not done a lot of knife specific defenses before. It also shows that it is easy to get cut even in a relatively controlled exercise.

Some other highlights of the training: Guro Bob demonstrated Transition Drill #4 with Guro Miguel and we also practiced some cool counters to grips (one & two-handed) on the knife hand, including the simple solution of switching the knife to the other hand: a movement I think of as the 'der der der riposte'.

White Guys with Whips

Saturday 05/20/2006

Guro Mike held a two hour class outside at Woodley Garden Park in Rockville. I set up the video and captured most of it, but yet again the sound didn't come out (I think the mic needs a new battery)! The weather was great and so we started out practicing with the long staff:
  • How to hold the staff
  • Turning the staff
  • Coordination drills
    • Full wrist rotations of the staff in figure 8 pattern
    • Double hand rotations passing from hand to hand
  • Low angle 3 strike & block
  • Low/High angle 3 strikes & block
  • Low/High angle 3 with angle 8 strike and roof block
  • Angle 1 block and parry and counter with strike to hand (forward & backhand)
We then moved on to playing with the whips. No serious mishaps though both I and Ray got bit by our own whip, though in my case it was more the fact that I got the whip caught around my neck. The practice we did was:
  • Vertical strikes wrapping the whip around a staff held at either end by accomplices.
  • Angle 1 & 2 strikes, cracking the whip
  • Double whips using heavenly-six siniwali pattern.
I was not so good cracking the whip, but my daily Siniwali practice served me well with the double whips and I was able to keep them flowing and even add in some footwork. I'm guessing it came off well because everyone was cheering and applauding me while I was doing it. I still have to review the video footage to see if I managed to catch this on video.

After our practice we retired to the Hard Times Cafe across the road and gorged ourselves on chili. It was fun just hanging out with the guys, listening to some of Guro Mike's amusing stories about Guro Dan and some of the other colorful characters he knows.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jeet Tek / Juk Tek

Thursday 05/18/2006

Jun Fan JKD

This was a landmark class for me because it was the first Jun Fan kickboxing class I've had where my movements felt good. I managed to regulate my breathing and relax so I was not wasting a lot of energy and was able to let the techniques flow. It felt DAMN good. Up to this point I've appreciated the workout with the kickboxing, but the motion hasn't felt very natural to me. At this point I seem to be tentatively emerging from my awkward beginning student phase to a point where I have internalized the movements to the point where I'm able to turn more of my attention to finer points of form, flow, timing and distance.

We picked up from the last class and practiced the drills:

{jit tek (front toe kick)} - ha pak - o'oo tek - cross - hook - cross - o'oo tek
followed by 5 round blitz of jab-cross x 5 for conditioning

{jit tek} - pak tek - o'oo tek - cross - hook - cross - o'oo tek
followed by 5 round blitz of lt & rt elbows x 5

We added an additional variation of this drill:

{jit tek} - jeet tek - o'oo tek - cross - hook - cross - o'oo tek
followed by 5 round blitz of high-low-high hooks x 5.

The jeet tek is a stop kick, similar to a juk tek (side kick) but with no chambering. The purpose of the jeet tek is similar to the pak tek, to choke off a kick before the attack has time to launch; in essence a stop kick. The jeet tek and pak tek are both techniques that epitomize Sijo Lee's core philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do, as the Art of the Intercepting Fist.

Kali/Escrima - Espada Y Daga

We continued with the gunting drills and finally managed to complete the series on all angles. The sequence we practiced was a little different to that we drilled on Tuesday:

8 - 1 - 3 - 4 - 2- 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15

I realized, just as Guro Mike continues to emphasize to us, that there are only really two different movements being used to gunting on any of these angles: an outside-in gunting and an inside-out gunting. The only difference between the variations for each angle is the angle of attack that determines body angle and which hand is leading (stick or dagger/alive hand).

I have been practicing the heavenly-six sinawali pattern that Guro Eric taught me in my daily workout/practice and I am finding this very helpful in training my stick coordination, footwork (I've added triangular footwork into my practice), and also reinforcing left hand stick work. I think this also is helping me with the stick and dagger work we are doing in class.

Up to this point I have only been writing up class notes in this journal, but I'm thinking that I should also document my daily training here too. I usually train at least an hour a day (not necessarily in a single block) sometimes more outside of class as this is pretty essential to make progress (besides it being really fun). I have also been thinking that I should start keeping track of my training time in and out of class.

Tomorrow (Saturday) morning we are training outside in the park with swords, whips and other fun stuff that we can't do safely in the gym. I will be video taping this, though hopefully I wont be doing that for the whole class and will be able to play with the whips myself! Whip-crack away, whip-crack away, whip-crack awayyyy!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pak Tek

Tuesday 05/16/2006

JKD class:

We continued with Jun Fan Kickboxing combinations and added some additional kicking elements:
  1. {kick to groin} - ha pak (low slap) - O'oo tek - Cross - Hook - Cross - O'oo tek
  2. {kick to groin} - Pak tek - O'oo tek - Cross - Hook - Cross - O'oo tek
The pak tek looks like a Savate kick even though it has a Cantonese name. The basic movement is to intercept a front kick to the groin by checking it with your reverse leg. To be successful the pak tek must intercept before the kick has left the ground too far and therefore has low momentum.

In the combinations we respond to an attack with a parry either with the hand or foot and then immediately bridge the gap with a O'oo tek into striking range. The final O'oo tek trains us to keep the bridge by following the opponent when they attempt to retreat. The purpose of some of these drills are becoming much clearer to me now.

Escrima/Kali - Espada Y Daga

Continued with stick and dagger gunting drills. The sequence is as follows:
  1. Roof block to backhand vertical strike (angle 8)
  2. Gunting to angle 1
  3. Low wing gunting to angle 4
  4. Low inside deflection gunting to angle 3
  5. Outside deflection gunting to angle 7
  6. Inside deflection gunting to angle 6
  7. Downward deflection gunting to angle 5
  8. Roof block to forehand vertical strike
  9. Open 5 count
Hopefully we will complete the entire sequence for all 15 angles over the next couple of classes. I suspect that Guro Mike is more concerned to install the range of drills over the first five angles since these are the most often used strikes and less concerned about covering all angles for each technique. So I'm not sure if we will not go on to another set of drills before we complete the whole series. This is just a suspicion, I will have to ask Guro Mike tonight.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dick & Stagger

Tuesday 05/09/2006

JKD class focused on kickboxing five count drills:

I O'oo Tek - Cross - Hook - Cross - O'oo Tek
followed by jab-cross blitz

II O'oo Tek - Cross - Uppercut - Cross - O'oo Tek
followed by uppercut blitz

Kali, Escrima Class was focused on Stick & Dagger (or Dick & Stagger as I prefer to call it):

Closed Five Count
Open Five Count

Then progressed up to the following gunting drills with isolations in between:

{#8} - Roof - #1 - {Gunting} - Closed Five Count - #4 - {Low Wing} - Open Five Count - {#3} - Low Pass - Closed Five Count - #5 - Tap down - Open Five Count

The aim is to build this progression with attack and defense on all 15 angles (Inosanto Blend).

Monday, May 08, 2006

True Left & Transition Drills 1 & 2

Sunday 5/7/2006 12pm - 3pm

Trained with Guro Miguel and Frankie for about 3 hours. Covered the following drills:

3 of 9 template -
scarecrow right and left hands
left defeats right
right hand targets with left hand
true left

Transition Drill #1 -
Flow drill
Isolations projectile range (level I)
Isolations long range (level II)
Isolations medium range (level III)

Transition Drill #2 -
In flow, targets 1 - 10

This is a lot of material already. I think I'm on my way to having 3 of 9 installed, there is actually a lot of depth under the surface of this drill, and I think you could spend years exploring the variations and subtleties of this one drill. Transition Drill #1 is very linear and with the focus on trapping, centerline and to some extent immovable elbow it reminds me of Wing Chun Gong Fu (I'm sure this drill is a good transition for Wing Chun and JKD practitioners). Whereas Transition Drill #1 is linear Transition Drill #2 is based on circular movements and many of the movements have a strong Kuntao Silat flavor to them. I think I will need several weeks to grasp this drill because my recall of the movements is already a blur. This would be so much easier if I could train with a training partner ever day, but we have to work with what we have. I am very thankful for the opportunity to train with some excellent teachers: Guro Mike, Guro Eric, Guro Bob & Guro Miguel

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Trapping & Knife Play

Saturday 5/7/2005

JKD class was focused on trapping. Guro Mike does spend much time on teaching trapping since it is a very specialized skill that requires an educated fighter and works best in only specific circumstances. Besides that it is difficult to teach to a large class. Since there were only four of us in today's class Guro decided to introduce trapping.

The whole class was spent working off the Pak Sao:

I. Pak Sao Gwa Choi
II. O'oo tek - bil jee - pak sao - gwa choi
III. O'oo tek - bil jee - pak sao - gwa choi - leg sweep

The purpose of pak sao and all trapping is to remove obstacles to open a path for your attack. Trapping is a strong feature in Kali and particularly so in close range systems such as Pekiti Tirsia or Sayoc Kali.

Kali - Knife Fighting

Our Kali class was spent with the knife. We spent a little time practicing passing/tossing a knife to our training partner aiming to toss the knife straight into their hands. This is actually a lot easier to pull off than you would think.

The rest of the class was spent practicing deflections of knife attacks in the reverse grip:

I. Passing (outside-in).
II. Passing with gunting inside-out
III. Passing with gunting outside-in
IV. Scooping outside-in with palm-up c-hand check to elbow
V. Scooping inside-out with palm-up c-hand check to elbow

Guro Mike then showed applications with alternative weapons to the single dagger including doble-daga (dual blade same hand with one in reverse and the other in forward grip). Also showed the application using a palm stick. These drills translate very well to an 'improvised' weapon, such as the trusty flashlight that I always carry.